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This is a big story.  You can help spread the word via twitter.  But, before we get excited here, this is the EPA's "Progress Report" which will be followed by further studies, yaddy yadda yadda.  You might detect some dismay in this diary because, according to this EPA Progress Report "Many of the data come directly from the oil and gas industry and states with high levels of oil and gas activity."  Mostly from only nine (9) companies.  After all that has happened with "self-reporting" by industries, it's difficult to understand why the EPA would rely on the industry and states depending on a continual flow of these two cash crops for data.  

In short, EPA is saying they have relied heavily on the oil/gas industry and the states experiencing an economic boom from the fracking industry.  The Progress report is the BEGINNING of a much longer process which includes several other steps before EPA concludes whether or not fracking might have a negative impact on drinking water.  

EPA's Full Report isn't Due Out until 2014

The fact that the early progress report did not contain anything significantly negative is likely an encouraging sign for the fracking lobby.
Therefore, it's easy to conclude that, by the time all the designated experts chime in, it will be too late to save water in present heavily fracked areas.  

NORTH DAKOTA - The EPA study doesn't include much about North Dakota where there is a huge fracking boom with a lot of wells near the Missouri River and its reservoirs.  You might remember that, in 2011, the Missouri River underwent historic flooding.  You would think the flooding potential would translate into NO FRACKING WELLS near the Missouri River.  Not so.  

The nine companies contributing data to the EPA for its study does not include the companies drilling fracking sites in North Dakota near the banks of the Missouri River for some reason.

Look at how close to the Missouri River and the Lake Sakakawea Lake Reservior, North Dakota, these Fracking wells are.  Each WHITE SQUARE is a fracking well.

Where you see the RED LINE on the right, the Fracking site is approximately 400 feet from the Reservoir

3 Fracking Sites Near Water Reservior, Shell Creek Bay, North Dakota

Just south of Newtown, North Dakota, this penninsula, is peppered with Fracking sites, many near the banks of the Lake Sakakawea.  The companies owning these wells are not included in the EPA's report.

Fracking Sites near Shell Creek Bay, Missouri River, North Dakota

Most now know that Fracking is exempt from key federal environmental regulations, thanks to a Bush Era ruling, known as the "Hallibuton Loophole."  No surprise there.  Halliburton fracked back in the late 1940s.

We can guess that Cheney and the oil/gas secret energy meetings included some fracking chit chat.

Here's why I am concerned.  I know people working in the fracking fields.  I know that liners for fracking waste water leaks. I know that some waste water ponds don't even have linings.  I know workers wear dosimeters to make sure they aren't exposed to too much radiation.  Do an Edit/Find search after opening the EPA Report for the word "radionuclides" (14 hits and defined on Page 259).  I know trucks crash and spill the toxic waste on road sides. I know wells fail and spew oil spills.  Anyone who knows people working in the fields can confirm what a mess it is out there.  There are also no lack of people reporting problems with their drinking water, like the famous video of faucet water being ignited by the home owner.

Apparently, such demonstrations like these are not scientific enough proof for the EPA.

Whiting North Dakota oil spill reported

Oil spill threatens Killdeer city well

That said I am CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS here on DKos to read through this first stage of EPA's just released start up reporting on the POSSIBLE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FRACKING ON DRINKING WATER

Matt Damon is releasing his FRACKING Movie, Promised Land.  Here's the trailer

Promised Land TRAILER (2012) - Matt Damon Movie HD

At the end of this diary is an exciting Google Earth Tool that shows where thousands of fracking wells are located, many on the banks of major drinking water sources.  Jim Lee produced this amazing tool for us.  If you click on one of the green frowny faced disks, it will tell you which company owns the well, etc.  The instructions & link are included below.

Actually EPA completed a report on August 14, 2011* (professionals from the Yucca Mountain project assisted).  I'm not sure if or whether the 2011 report impacts last week's report.  More on the 2011 report below.

From EPAs 2012 report:

In 2011, the EPA began research under its Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. The purpose of the study is to assess the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, if any, and to identify the driving factors that may affect the severity and frequency of such impacts. Scientists are focusing primarily on hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas, with some study of other oil- and gas-producing formations, including tight sands, and coalbeds.

The EPA has designed the scope of the research around five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Each stage of the cycle is associated with a primary research question:

Water acquisition: impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground and surface waters on drinking water resources?

Chemical mixing: impacts of hydraulic fracturing fluid surface spills on or near well pads on drinking water resources?

Well injection:  impacts of the injection and fracturing process on drinking water resources?

Flowback and produced water: What are the possible impacts of flowback and produced water (collectively referred to as “hydraulic fracturing wastewater”) surface spills on or near well pads on drinking water resources?

Wastewater treatment and waste disposal: What are the possible impacts of inadequate treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater on drinking water resources?

YES, there are hopes, even designs,  of fracking water treatment plants producing water that can be released back into the area.

The baselines for the study are quite limited, as if the variables for what could go wrong are not infinite in scope:

Data from multiple sources have been obtained for review and analysis.

Many of the data come directly from the oil and gas industry and states with high levels of oil and gas activity.

Information on the chemicals and practices used in hydraulic fracturing has been collected from nine companies that hydraulically fractured a total of 24,925 wells between September 2009 and October 2010.

Additional data on chemicals and water use for hydraulic fracturing are being pulled from over 12,000 well-specific chemical disclosures in FracFocus, a national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry operated by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commisson.

Only nine companies?  Good grief!  Which companies?

Here's the list of companies operating in just North Dakota, from a state website.

Current North Dakoa Well List

There are a lot more than nine companies listed.

I think anyone with common sense knows the inherent danger of destroying water in the fracking process.  It takes millions of gallons of water that is mixed with a chemical cocktail to drill each well!

We also know that the economy of North Dakota will tank if any proof of contamination is reported by the EPA.  No danger of that happening right away.  By the time the EPA and the industry experts massage the information, the drillers and hoards of workers will have moved on to new territory to drill baby drill, turning the USA into swiss cheese.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Sierra Club tries to answer that question in this article

Fracking Missouri River Water?

The six reservoirs along the river currently provide water storage primarily for flood control, reservoir recreation and releases for navigation. But the Corps' recent notice proposes that portions of the reservoir space be available for purchase by industry. That industry is assumed to include major demands from fracking interests.
Is there any question that the Missouri River is already providing millions and millions of gallons of water for fracking in North Dakota?


AGAIN, CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS - The EPA has done some work already.  In this document there is a list of fracking components.

Title: Hydraulic Fracturing Retrospective Case Study, Bakken Shale, Killdeer and Dunn County, ND - August, 2011

In this document this list of fracking chemicals is included on pages 41 - 42:

Fracking Fluid Components Page 1 0f 2
Fracking Fluid Components - Page 2 of 4
Fracking Fluid Components - Page 3 of 3

Well it's nice to see one FRACKING FLUID REPORT.

***  M U S T   S E E  ***

In the 2012 EPA report the list of FRACKING FLUID COMPONENTS can be found on pags 194 - 244

Check them out.


Also this is an amazing amount of work:

Someone has created a Google Earth map of FRACKING WELLS.  This is interative.

Open this website:

Click on FRACKING AMERICA and wait for the Green discs to appear

Just above the upper left bar that says EARTH, MOON, MARS etc, CLICK on the red Joy Stick to the right so the NAVIGATION TOOLS will appear.

In the upper right hand corner, you can click on the first icon on the left to get rid of whatever that guys name is playing Dr. Evil.

Then zoom in and you will find the DETAILED INFORMATION for each well.

As importantly, and more sadly, and especially in North Dakota, you will see that fracking wells are literally along the banks of the Missouri River and the huge reservoirs behind the dams controlling the flow of the great Missouri.


KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE: MAPS Prove How Fracked Up This Idea Is

The hypothesis of this diary is that fracking and/or fracking injection wells cause shallow earthquakes which cause more damage to structures than deeper quakes.  The Keystone XL Pipeline's proposed path runs over and near fracking drilling and fracking injection wells.


By the time EPA completes its "due diligence" it will be too late to save many drinking water resources

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nicely done (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, Creosote

    Even hit the tip jar from which I normally refrain except in cases such as this one. Great lunch read. Thank you.

  •  Your diary does not focus on anything enough to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    be very useful.

    Try writing only about a single specific part of the matter you are addressing, and do with with about 100 times the depth you are presently using.

    Also, stop referring to the totality of oil and gas exploration, well completion and production activities as "fracking" as doing so means that you are not using scientific terminology in a manner appropriate to a discussion of hydrology, geological engineering, petroleum & natural gas process engineering and geology.

    •  Like this? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, WakeUpNeo, Creosote

      POISON FRACKING PONDS in Utah:  8 Pictures Speak Volumes
      These pics are taken from Google Earth.  Utah has been on a fracking frenzy and has recently gotten permits for at least 1,300 more wells near the Green River which flows into the Colorado River, which flows into recreational Lake Powell.  

      Like many Republican Governors, Utah's is pushing to take back federally protected lands because as Governor Herbert and Orrin Hatch of Utah say

      "Utahns can better manage the lands in our state far better than any bureaucrat in Washington ever could," said Senator Orrin Hatch. "As a leader in the Sagebrush Rebellion, I've been fighting to turn federal lands in our state over to Utahns to own and control.  I believe we are in a climate where, if we do it right, the lands in Utah can finally be under the management of our state, and I applaud the Legislature, Governor Herbert, and other parties in our state for sending this message."
      ALEC helped!
      ALEC's model Sagebrush Rebellion Act is designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of unappropriated lands from the federal government to the states.
      Let's stop pretending.  These lands are wanted for their oil and gas, the heck with the environment.

      The pics below show what "better management" will look like.  I call these Fracking Art because they remind me of those painting sets we used as children, the ones with the little wells for each color.

      Speaking of color?  Anyone have any idea why the fracking waste ponds have different colors?

      For those of you who enjoy Google Earth, you can see these for yourself at these coordinates.  Copy/paste coords into Google Earth search window and zoom out to see these fracking waste ponds.  For some reason, Google Earth won't honor specific coordinates for the fracking waste ponds.

      40.043086 N 109.401642 W

      You will be astounded at the number of fracking wells you will see, btw.

      Fracking Art:  8 Pics of Utah's Open Fracking Waste Ponds

      Many of these fracking waste pond sites are near Utah's White River which flows into the Green River, which flows into the Colorado River, which flows into the Lake Powell Reservoir.  I've been watching these for over a year.  It seems we have some new ones.

      1.  Fracking waste pond complex near the White River.  This site is approximately .49 miles x .49 miles in size.  The little things you see are truck containers.  The ponds are very large.  

      Fracking Art II, Near White River, Utah

      2.  Another fracking waste pond complex near the White River

      Fracking Art I, Near White River, Utah

      3.  Another fracking waste pond complex near the White River

      Fracking Art III, Near White River, Utah

      4.  Two more fracking waste pond complexes near the White River, you can see many fracking well sites near the waste ponds here.  

      Fracking Art IV w:Wells, Near White River, Utah

      5.  These fracking waste ponds are further east in Utah's Uintah basin, ground zero for fracking right now.  These waste ponds are surrounded by fracking well sites.

      Fracking Art V w:Wells, Eastern Utah

      6.  More fracking waste ponds further east in Utah's Uintah basin, ground zero for fracking right now.  These waste ponds are surrounded by fracking well sites.

      Fracking Art VI, Uintah, Utah

      7.  Another fracking waste pond site further east in Utah's Uintah basin, ground zero for fracking right now.

      Fracking Art VII, Uintah, Utah

      8.  Another fracking waste pond site, this one ironically adjacent to Seepage Road.

      Fracking Art VIII

      There seems to be little concern for the environmental impact of fracking in Utah.

      This pic shows fracking wells surrounding the Montes Creek Reservior in Roosevelt, Utah.

      Fracking Wells Surrounding Montes Creek Reservoir near Roosevelt Utah

      As I will demonstrate for Wyoming and North Dakota in other diaries, there seems to be little/no concern about putting fracking wells on the banks of rivers.

      Here are fracking wells on the banks of the White River, Utah

      Fracking Wells on Banks of White River, Utah

      You would think the Governor of Utah would be happy with the Feds most recent act of complicity to drill Utah into swiss cheese.

      Secretary Salazar authorized over 1,300 new wells in Desolation Canyon and near the Green River for Colorado based Gasco just last month!

      The air quality in Uintah Basin has gone to hell.

      Groups sue EPA over air pollution in Uinta Basin

      There is presently an approximate 2,800 square mile area with wells in Uintah Basin, where Vernal, UT is located.

      Here's a Google map view.  The red lines show the area scope where the wells are located.  The area measures approximately 70 miles by 40 miles or 2,800 square miles.

      Area Span Where Fracking Wells are Working Uintah Basin, Utah

      I shudder to think what is actually in that smog.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:46:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or this one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, WakeUpNeo

      KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE: MAPS Prove How Fracked Up This Idea Is

      The hypothesis of this diary is that fracking and/or fracking injection wells cause shallow earthquakes which cause more damage to structures than deeper quakes.  The Keystone XL Pipeline's proposed path runs over and near fracking drilling and fracking injection wells.

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:52:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like this diary by Leftycoaster (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      EPA finds Fracking Fluid Chemicals in Wyoming drinking water

      For the first time the E.P.A. and announced finding chemicals used in fracking fluid in well water around the town of Pavillion in central Wyoming.  

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:53:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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